Ukraine: Daily Briefing – October 24, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
October 24, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
To view remarks delivered recently at the Atlantic Council by Ambassador Kurt Volker, US Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, please click on image above.
To view remarks delivered recently at the Atlantic Council by Ambassador Kurt Volker, US Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, please click on image above.
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 9 times in total. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed one and wounded 4 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. EU foreign policy chief on situation in the Sea of Azov
Speaking at the European Parliament on October 23, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stated, “We do not and we will not recognise the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation. It is first and foremost a matter of principles and values – principles and values that all European nations agreed in Helsinki in 1975.
          We all agreed to the basic principle that our frontiers cannot be changed by military force. This is a principle, this is a value, on which our common living together is based. This is also a fundamental interest of all Europeans, because this is the foundation of peace and security on our European continent. When this principle is violated – as it has been – we are all less secure in our continent.
          The events in the Sea of Azov are a demonstration of this: when the basic rules of peaceful coexistence are disregarded, instability and tensions are bound to rise. The construction of the Kerch Bridge between the Crimean peninsula and the Russian Federation took place without Ukraine’s consent, and it constitutes another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. On top of that, the bridge hinders the passage of vessels to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea.
          Six months ago, Russia started to apply a new inspection regime for cargo vessels coming from Ukraine’s ports in the Azov Sea, or heading towards them. These inspections lead to long delays, which have increased dramatically over the past months. This has direct consequences on shipping costs, not only for Ukrainian exporters, but also for vessels flying a European Union Member State’s flag. So far, more than 200 vessels under both Ukrainian and international flags have been affected by these controls by Russia, which in some cases lasted several days.
         Even more worrying, tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait have gone in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea. Russia has recently started deploying military vessels to the area in significant numbers, and Ukraine has partially responded with an increased military presence. […]
        When international law is violated, when Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are violated, the European Union stands by the people of Ukraine. […]
A militarisation of the Azov Sea is in no-one’s interest, and it can only destabilise the delicate security situation in the wider Black Sea region.
        Let me remind us all that the Black Sea is a European sea, and we do not want to witness yet another military build-up in our immediate region. We will continue to push for the respect of international law and conventions, and to support Ukraine in these challenging circumstances. I am sure that I can count on the support of this [European] Parliament in this work we are doing.”
3. Ukraine, EBRD launching new cooperation strategy
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers reported, “Ukraine and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are launching a new cooperation strategy, envisaging the implementation of long-term and financially large projects, both at the level of the private sector and at the level of public administration.
           Appropriate arrangements were reached during the meeting of Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and EBRD Vice President Alain Pilloux. […]
          According to Alain Pilloux, the Bank is greatly interested in alternative energy projects, development of state-owned banks. That is why the legislative initiatives concerning the law on alternative energy, state banks, concessions and the activities of the business ombudsman are much awaited.
          ‘The volume of existing cooperation is not in line with our potential. You mentioned amendments to the legislation, and we support the majority of them. But these are work-related issues,’ Volodymyr Groysman said. ‘We are focusing on improving legislation, and at the same time we need to concentrate on the already existing opportunities. This should be parallel process. We can’t wait for the adoption of laws, their implementation – it can take years, we need to boost economy now.’
          The sides stressed that a large-scale privatization, intensification of cooperation both at the level of municipalities and in the sector of infrastructure projects could become powerful impetuses to the process. Thus, by the end of the year the EBRD is planning to sign a number of practical arrangements with PJSC Ukrzaliznytsia and Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise.”
4. Ukraine’s Health Ministry and partners work on electronic procurement system
The Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported on October 23, “The Ministry of Health of Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding with the Eurasia Foundation (Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services Program / TAPAS) on the implementation of the e-procurement development project. The project will open up opportunities for a large-scale development of the system for electronic procurement of medicines, medical devices, and other healthcare products in Ukraine, and will contribute to ensuring the professionalization of public procurement in the health sector.
            This is an important step towards implementing the Concept of Reforming Procurement of Medicines and Medical Devices, and other Healthcare Products, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine […]
           The new Concept aims to provide access to high-quality treatment in ways that are most convenient for the patient. To achieve this, the best delivery option will be selected for each medicine and healthcare product currently listed in the centralized procurement system, including through reimbursement programs, medical service costs, or the Central Procurement Agency’s purchases.
           If fully implemented, these steps will contribute to the establishment and effective operation of the Central Procurement Agency (CPA) in Ukraine. The CPA will carry centralized procurement of medicines and healthcare products included in the strategic programs (vaccines, infectious diseases), and of expensive patented medicines, for the allocated funds from the state budget. In addition, the Agency will work on reducing prices for medicines and healthcare products in the Ukrainian market, integrating local purchases, making framework purchases, creating and maintaining electronic catalogs, etc.

The new Concept implementation is planned for 2018-2021. The Central Procurement Agency will be established by the end of this year.”

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